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The game of cricket in Italy dates back to 1793 when Admiral Horatio Nelson organised the first-ever recorded game in Naples. Exactly 100 years later, Sir James Edward Spensley founded the Genoa Cricket & Football Club to be followed shortly afterwards by similar entities in Milan and Turin. The advent of Fascism, however, saw the disappearance of the game, which only resurfaced after World War II. The transformation from expatriate to integrated activity started in 1980 with the foundation of the Associazione Italiana Cricket. Recognised by the ICC in 1984 as the first Affiliate Member, the Associazione acquired Associate status in 1995 and, following government recognition, on 1st March 1997 became the Federazione Cricket Italiana.
The history of international cricket in Italy hinges around one precise date: 25th July 1998. On that date, to its own and the cricketing world's surprise, Italy beat the ECB XI at the European Championships in The Hague to gain promotion to Division 1 of that competition. Joe Scuderi, the star of that win, subsequently became the first Italian player to play county cricket, being signed by Lancashire. Italy has now stabilised itself in the top 30 in the global rankings following its permanent entry in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League. Preparation did not go altogether smoothly ahead of the 2010 WCL Division 4, to be held on home soil in August, when it finished bottom of the ICC European Championship Division 1 tournament in Jersey in July.
At youth level, the best success to date was when it won the ICC European Championship U15 Division Two title in August 2009, a tournament that was held in Bologna.
There are two main competitions in Italy - the Championship and the Italian Cup. The Championship has rapidly expanded to three divisions over the last few years. Only six sides feature in the 1st Division, in which teams must field at least seven Italians per game. In order to play in the top flight, teams must also play youth cricket. From 2009, the second Division has introduced the compulsory presence of an Italian player on the field. This will grow by one unit a year up to four in 2012. There are no such playing restrictions in the third Division.
The Italian Cup is played in Twenty20 knockout format. It is open to teams from all three divisions and is no restriction on players on the field.
Around 4000 people are involved in cricket in Italy and of these approximately 3000 are juniors involved in the main feature of the Federazione's Development Programme, the Progetto Promozione e Sviluppo (Promotion and Development Programme). This is a 32-hour scheme that is delivered to schools in the Kwik Cricket format. The idea is not only to involve the kids but also the physical education teachers. In this respect, coach education has been a feature of the last years in Italy. The GITC, the organisation of Italian coaches modeled on the ECBCA, now comprises more than 60 members ranging from ECB Level 3 to Istruttore Federale, the basic eight-hour course to teach cricket in schools.
Umpiring courses and seminars are held every year to ensure growth both in quantity and quality of this fundamental aspect of the game. The Italian Umpires are organized in the GIACS, something similar to the old ACU&S.
Female activity took place in 2009 with three separate tournaments: Kwik cricket, U13s and Seniors.